Preston A. Whitmore II Was Inspired By His Background To Make Dutch [Exclusive Interview]

The writer and director Preston A. Whitmore II brings us Dutch. An action thriller based on the trilogy written by Terry Woods.


The Synopsis

DUTCH introduces a player who will use any means necessary to dominate the streets and beyond. For Bernard James, Jr. aka “Dutch” (Lance Gross, “House of Payne“), survival is the ultimate score and power is the deadliest high of all. There isn’t an angle he can’t work or a woman he can’t seduce. When he gains control of an African drug lord’s stolen heroin business, Dutch quickly makes it the most feared drug empire on the East Coast. Naturally, there are plenty of enemies vowing to take him down, including a vengeful Mafia heir, an ambitious DA and a conscience-stricken former friend. With Dutch fighting for his life, while on trial, he plays the game and scores a winning hand in the face of all that betrayed him and finds justice his way …the street way!

I connected with the filmmaker Preston A. Whitmore II via phone to talk about Dutch. He expressed wanting to make this film for a long time. Whitmore spoke about the cast and if he will be continuing the series. Plus, a sneak peak to his other projects for later this year. 

Nancy Tapia: Hi! I got a chance to watch Dutch. Did you co-write the script with the author of the novel?

Preston A. Whitmore II: No.

Nancy Tapia: Thank you for clarifying.

Preston A. Whitmore II: There was no co-writing I wrote in myself.

Nancy Tapia: And you also directed. What made you take on a full task?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Well, here’s the thing. Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this book for several years. In fact, I only did,

, so that I could do this book. They were doing True to the Game first. I really wanted to do this, because of my background. I was born and raised in Detroit, old streets. But I also went to law school. So I wanted to do a different type of crime, drama, getting included in courtrooms.

Nancy Tapia: You mentioned that you went to law school. A big portion is legal talk and terms in a courtroom. Did your knowledge from law school facilitate when writing the script?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Yeah. I mean, it was all part of my natural knowledge. In fact, in the book, there is no Natasha Marc‘s character. It doesn’t exist in a book. Small mention of her in regard to it, there was a guy named Michael. I think he only had like a paragraph about him. 

Natasha Marcs As Michelle

But what drew me to it is the fact that I could create this female protagonist that will be the glue between everybody. I sort of like to capitalize on that relationship. Kind of like how Dr.Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling were in Silence of the Lambs. She was representing this guy that was obviously guilty of something, but not guilty of what they were charging him with. And sort of had to deal with that moral dilemma, but also servicing the streets and everything that he had done. To a lot of our audience is looking for, with the flashbacks.

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Nancy Tapia: That’s interesting, the concept of bringing in a character that’s not in the novel. So let’s go back a little, this is based on a trilogy. I was in suspense to know how it was going to continue. How is the story going to develop to opening that door for the continuation. I have to say my favorite scene was with all the action going on. Yes, Lance Gross was pretty kick ass. However, so are the women in this film.

Preston A. Whitmore II: Oh yeah, I definitely want to bring that out too. I clearly want to represent about female empowerment on an equal basis in this picture. That it wasn’t just the guys out there doing things, that it was all women as well. So they kind of represent it on all levels. When you look at it there’s a real intellectual representation from Natasha Marc‘s character, but also a street representation from Teen Angel’s character.

Nancy Tapia: When you were writing the script what was a part that you maybe had a little bit of a struggle to put in writing from the novel?

Preston A. Whitmore II: I didn’t have any struggles really. I mean, I had thought it out from the very beginning. I wrote this maybe three to four years ago. So it was actually written maybe two year before we actually filmed.

Scene from Dutch

Nancy Tapia: What was one part of the script that you really were like enthusiastic about just finally shooting?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Maybe the whole thing, because it deals with a lot of back and forth in time. So it was important that, I think for the audience, and I already so much more sophisticated now that they’d be able to follow it. The narration of the story and the maturation of Dutch is, he becomes this criminal and recognized for his past. As well as he’s fighting this court case in the present day. But also to put all the pieces where we could be sympathetic to him on a certain level, because we saw his mother and how he grew up and those particular things. But I don’t think there was any one thing, it was the combination of seeing the whole thing come together.

Nancy Tapia: Did you struggle with that back and forth part of the film? There was a good amount of it.

Preston A. Whitmore II: No.I haven’t seen movies like this before and the audience didn’t have a problem with it. Like the social network, if you look at that, that’s a different moment of time going backward and forward. And also they have two lawsuits going on at the same time, and that picture shows a little bit more complicated. But no, not at all.

Nancy Tapia: Does it facilitate to direct when you are also the writer of the script?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Well, it does make things easy in a sense that you already sort of map things out in your mind. As far as how you’re going to proceed and how you see the picture. So it does make it easy in that regard. When I’ve finished writing and I’m shifting into directing, I take the writing hat off. It does help in some cases when you’re dealing with independent pictures like this, and some things don’t go exactly as plan. That you are a writer and you can facilitate things because you have that skill set right then and there.

Lance Gross as Benard ‘Dutch’ James

Nancy Tapia: Let’s talk about the cast, you have an awesome cast. You even have Macy Gray. Since you had envisioned this for so long, was it the same when it came to the cast?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Well, the cast also was kind of the same way. I had talked to Lance Gross about this very early on before we even got involved. I think I actually did two movies. No, three movies before we got to this, but it had already been written. Natasha Marc is in my picture California Love, which is going to come out later this year. But it was also shot before Dutch. So I recruited her from there. She did such a great job, her and Allen Payne that picture, so I thought she would be great as the attorney.

Preston A. Whitmore II: Even the young Craze he played Allen Payne’s son in California Love as well. So he came from there. Macy Gray, a picture we have called Real talk that’s coming out this year as well. Macy Gray and I had worked on that picture together. So I immediately envisioned her as the mother. So a lot of these were people that I had worked with already, which made it significantly easier. They all knew I worked and I knew how they worked. So it wasn’t as complicated as you might think.

James Hyde as Anthony Jacobs

Nancy Tapia: You’re definitely a pro! So is there going to be a second film? Did you already write the script? Cause I have a feeling you have, haha…

Preston A. Whitmore II: Haha…Yeah, everything will unfold as it should. When I have spare time I write. All the time already every day. I think even before we shot True to the Game One, I think I had True to the Game 2 already written. The reason I did that right then was because I was so busy with so many other things like California Love and Real Talk, and then was crappy for Dutch. So I was getting to these pictures soon. I think there absolutely will be a Dutch Two and a Dutch Three, I believe.

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Nancy Tapia: That’s awesome, because I am looking forward to seeing more of Dutch. You mentioned California Love and Real Talk for later this year. Is there anything you can share about them?

Preston A. Whitmore II: Real Talk is about a talk radio host, her name is Dominique Todane. She’s played by Jasmine Carmichael. Robert Ri’chard plays her boyfriend. A guy by the name of Taj Stansberry plays her manager. The entire movie takes place over one night at a radio station.

Yeah, also, Malcolm David Kelly is in that. He also played the younger Dutch, and in the movie Dutch, yes. As well as Iyana Halley and she’s in Real Talk pictures as well. She was Melissa William‘s assistant, she’s in the picture also. Roger Guenveur Smith, Michael Beach was also in there. So we have a pretty great cast for that as well. And some very interesting people via phone in addition to who we see on screen. And we do a lot in that picture, which is really fun. With a level of suspense and thriller as well, because someone is trying to kill the DJ throughout the night as well as what she’s conducting her show herself. So it’s a fun movie, but we do a lot of issues also.

Nancy Tapia: Great! Well, we can wait to see. For now you left me in suspense with Dutch so I know you’re going to do it again. Keep up the good work and look forward to seeing your projects.

Preston A. Whitmore II: Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. This has been fun.

Nancy Tapia: Thank you. Likewise, take care.

Preston A. Whitmore II: Bye.

Dutch is available in select theaters nationwide today!

Source: LRM Online Exclusive


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